My Teenagers Are Meanies

The Meaning to Life

Image by Lel4nd via Flickr

Oh sure, we are always supposed to give our thanks for what we have and do gratitude journals and write down five things every day we enjoy. No. I won’t do it today. I’m mad and cranky and I’ve had my fill of just about everybody except my dog (and my husband). My two teenagers, (that speaks volumes in itself) 16 1/2 and 18, have been making fun of me and teasing me non-stop. At least that’s what it feels like. We were sitting around the kitchen table and my daughter told my son something”stupid” I said and my son joined in with another mistake I made and proceeded to “text” dad with something I got mixed up with, Texas, Tennessee, whatever.  What I felt like doing was having a nutty, exploding and screaming things like “Shut up, you ungrateful brats I’ve had enough” but I didn’t; I regret that now.

I feel like “Mommy Rae” and want to stand up on the kitchen table with a sign that says there should be “A Union For All Moms.” I did tell my children that they were taking advantage of me and I was sick and tired of it. I was ready to cry, explode or yell (which would not have been a bad thing) but instead I left the kitchen table abruptly so they could probably make fun of my lack of sense of humor or whatever else they were dissing me for. (note to people who don’t have teens: to diss: to make fun of or put down.) I escaped, stomped up the stairs and stayed in my bedroom and watched a DVR’d version of one of my favorite shows, Top Chef. I did not go down to “make dinner”early because I had my limit of “what do you want, and what do YOU want” since my daughter is a vegetarian and my son thinks good food consists of ring jells and mixed fruit cocktail in jello. I kid you not.

I napped my intense anger away and when my husband came home and I thought that he was the only one on my side and that’s what it felt like. When he gave me a big hug, I didn’t want him to go. To Buffalo. (no offense to those who live in Buffalo) On Sunday. For six weeks. I thought to myself “how am I going to live with these two monster teenagers alone?”  I still don’t have the answer but I am going to lay down the law and tell them to step up and help out. The fact that I have a chronic pain disease does really not seem to affect them, hey, they are feeling good, isn’t everybody? NO, chronic pain means pain ALL THE TIME, I have the amount of energy as a dead tick does. I’m tired, I feel like crap. LISTEN TO ME!

I refuse to pick my daughter up late at night for the next six weeks because I fade at 3pm not to mention 12 midnight. She will have to make plans, get it together. Help out. Think of me. (I scoff). Teenagers, by design, do not think of anyone but themselves. My son will have to man up and help out with things too, he can pick up his sister late at night and take part in whatever is needed for the family. The what? The family, you know, the one that is supposed to be a joint unit, each of us helping each other. (I scoff again).

I’m doing the best I can, that’s what parents do. They try and try and hope that they make the right decision because they only want the best for their children. Do children appreciate that? A resounding NO. I have said the old stand-by to them: “I can’t wait till YOU have teenagers.” Does it make a difference to them? Of course not!!! It just makes me feel a tiny bit better and that is better than nothing.

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Bad Habits that Need to Go

there's no need to worry this is just a vacation

Image by Robert Bruce Murray III // Sort Of Natural via Flickr

A Buddha, I’m Not

 

I worry sometimes like a mother-trucker and it is not good for me (or anyone else). Of course I have tried to stop doing this but I was born worrying, straight out of the womb, six weeks premature (immature too?) and into the incubator for another six weeks. I am convinced that the separation from my mom is a cause. Perhaps I never felt soothed or comforted in the hospital, that’s just my own philosophy. The effect? I was also an anxious child who had to have my “questions” answered by my father every single night. Anticipatory anxiety, intense worrying, convinced something bad is going to happen before I have actual facts. I’ve tried the occasional anti-anxiety drug (which can take a slight edge off) but mostly, I try to breathe, sing, distract and write. Will I ever stop worrying? Doubt it.

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I’m Thankful For…. Chronic Babe Carnival

Waves crashing at Sal, Cabo Verde

Image by aldask via Flickr

In this blistering cold weather, I am thankful for a peek of bright yellow from the sun coming through the budding trees. When I am sitting on an, old, worn bench in the front yard and see the little purple flowers around the edge of the brown grass I am thankful for that too. What I am thinking about this very moment is how to be thankful when you have heard news that makes you unhappy, in other words, when life throws you a curve ball or two.  I think those are the times, like now, that might mean the most because it is test and a challenge and I need to teach the lessons to myself all over again. Learning from unexpected challenges….learning the hard way in the real world.

I wished for my mom to feel better and with deep gratitude, she is slowly feeling better. The spark is back in her voice for the most part and she plans to go back to her yoga class every week where she is surrounded by loving class-mates who have kissed her soft cheek after months of her absence.  I am thirty years younger than she is but with Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I cannot do yoga. Yes, I have tried it and couldn’t manage it. I did take Pilates for senior citizens and special needs people but because of my lack of balance, I couldn’t keep up. What was humiliating and embarrassing at the time, is funny now. I am grateful my sense of humor returned.

Tonight, I heard that my husband will have to spend six weeks in Buffalo on a new project. This came out of the blue and he starts immediately. It shocked us both, and within one minute we also heard from our son that he did not get into one of the colleges he applied to. I had to think hard and glean the gratitude of these two events. When my husband said he had “bad news” I thought his (new) job had been eliminated. The fact that he wasn’t let go and still has a job after two years of unemployment is a good thing. I need to wrap my head around the location change. Even though it’s not the end of the world, it’s hard to be a mom of two demanding teenagers when you have chronic pain issues. That my son got rejected from one of the schools he applied to, could very well be a humbling experience for him and a good life lesson. Life speaks to us that way, in gentle tones and whispers unless we ignore them and then we are hit with hard, crashing blasts of turmoil and angst. The decision might not have gone the way you hoped, now stop and think how some things are not meant to be, and that “things happen for a reason.”

We’re constantly (does it really have to be THAT constant?) challenged in ways which we do not expect. Riding the waves, both rough and smooth is part of the process and I am grateful I have learned to do that. I am also grateful that I know myself well enough to know that I need a good 24 hours to process ANY change. After that, things are easier to take and understand. It doesn’t help me from not getting shocked but it does give me a reasonable time frame to get myself together and plan accordingly.

I am also thankful for my family, of course, and my friends. I am equally happy that I can let my feelings, good or bad, out on this computer and learn to process things on my own. I have books to read, music to listen to and ultimately, little control over what happens in the future. With years of trial and tribulation and of experience, I have learned that there are many rough waves in the world to ride out. I just need 24 hours to remember how to do it. For that knowledge alone, I am exceedingly grateful.

How to Spend $1000 in an Hour

Passion flower

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

I’m Running Into A Florist…….and GO!!!

Remember when Oprah went around to her studio audience and said “a car for you” ” a car for you” ” a car for youuu.!” I would do the same thing in a second after I entered a beautiful florist shop. I admit I would keep a bunch for myself ( if that was allowed) but imagine giving so many random strangers delight when you would hand lovely flowers to them. I love fresh flowers and I wish I had the money to have flowers in my house all the time. They make me happy with their beautiful colors and scents. So my gift to “you” would be a gift from the heart: delicate yet vibrant flowers in all different colors: red, white, yellow, blue and apricot, plums and pinks. Enjoy them.

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I Wish I Knew More About…

Echarpe

Image via Wikipedia

Life

 

I wish I knew how to play the piano and strum on my guitar, I wish my vocal chords would be finely tuned so I could sing in a loud voice and people would nod their heads and smile. I wish I knew more about art and had the skills to sit down in a café and sketch the nuances of a person’s face, its shadows and form and unique characteristics. I wish I knew how to tell my children things that I have learned but they won’t listen to. I want to know more about the world and different, beautiful countries. I want to wear pretty, embroidered scarves whose colors match my mood. I wish I knew what made other people act the way they do and understand why. Not only that, I wish to be blessed with more patience and understanding and an open, always inquiring mind.

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Poetry

Northern Cardinal

Image by RunnerJenny via Flickr

Spring

Wind-swept hair falling in my green eyes making them tear up, like sudden heart-break.

The first struggling purple croci reaching for the sun

Cold temperatures still make us shake and  burrow

our necks into pink and red embroidered scarves

while the beautiful red cardinals start singing their delightful songs.

Night

Everything is scary when you wake up at 3:30am.

Twinges tickling your stomach as your mind taunts you.

What was just a thought last night is a devastating situation now.

I try to rock myself to sleep, back and forth, my eyes deadlocked

on the digital clock, numbers flipping past at an enormous speed.

Deep breaths, resolutions, solutions, I think nothing will feel better

until  the morning with its gift of my first cup of strong and milky coffee.

DINERS (A Foodie Blog)

Diner in Colorado Springs.

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There are many reasons to love living in New York but one of  the most important, to me, are diners. I wish I was kidding. We lived in Boston for many years and as adorable as the city is, they lack traditional diners. Huge, flashing signs, mirrors showing off svelte/swelled bodies, booths and knowing you can get whatever you want at any time, day or night, 24/7.

Diners are PERFECT for different taste sensations and choices. You can go to a diner (sometimes called coffee shop) and order pancakes at dinnertime or a gyro at 3am. (Gyro: a Greek dish featuring  lamb or chicken, sliced thinly off of a huge vat with spices stuffed in a big pita pocket and topped with a Greek salad, chunks of sweaty, salty, white feta cheese, hold the olives please, oh and the green peppers.) You want lamb, we have that too, a BLT with cheese, coming right up.

There are easily 300 choices and if you don’t see it on the menu, you either don’t want it or you can ask for it and they will make it for you. You can mix and match and yes, even if you want the fruit cup instead of the french fries and have to add a couple of bucks (some diners are strict) it’s still okay. You want breakfast at midnight? No problem, order the scrambled eggs and bacon or the Belgium waffle, or the pancakes (regular or whole wheat) with chocolate chips or blueberries or both. Feel like something upscale? Eggs Benedict or an egg white omelette with grilled asparagus and red peppers. Your child will only eat grilled cheese and fries? That is always available for the little guys (and the big guys too.)

For an international flare I’ve had spinach burritos stuffed with chopped meat, mozzarella cheese and spices, with rice, avocados and sour cream. Do you miss the comfort of Thanksgiving? Have it on a hot day in July: the open-faced turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce and thick brown gravy served with velvety mashed potatoes. Potato pancakes with applesauce? Sure. Fried clam strips, no problem, eggplant parmigian with roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce served with a Caesar salad? Of course. Falafel and humus, gourmet salads, a wrap, a crêpe, a hard poppy-seed roll, blueberry muffin and…..well I could go on forever but that’s my point. The menus are endless and you get great quality at a cheap price.

Caution: leave room for dessert because diners are also known for their variety of pies: blueberry pie, lemon meringue pie, apple pie… and cakes: chocolate mousse cake, vanilla coconut cake, rainbow cookie cake, cheesecake, chocolate layer cake with nuts or without. They also have large cookies as big as salad plates with your choice of sprinkles, sugar, chocolate chips, oatmeal raisin, and black and whites. Your wish is their delight. Most places have three-tiered revolving dessert cases, talk about joy. Standing there watching your mouth-watering favorites spin around slowly.

Ever see the beverage section of a diner? That in itself is special. For me the egg creams (no, sigh, there are no eggs in egg creams, just seltzer, syrup and milk) it’s the amount of each that is so important! They also have milkshakes, malteds, ice cream sodas, regular and diet sodas (free refills at some places) lemonade, iced tea, and a whole page of alcoholic selections with funny, frou-frou names.

Can’t figure out a place where all the family members can agree? The answer, of course, is a diner. Gather some quarters, put them in the music box, listen to the tinny sound of The Beatles or Arrowsmith and have fun. When you go up to pay your bill, be ready to see a free cookie tray or chocolate covered mints to “thank you for coming” as you leave. By the way, the portions are so large that you never need to feel ashamed of asking for a doggie bag; at a diner, it’s delightfully de rigueur.

Please, Mama

c. 1901

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Don’t give up the fight, Mama. It’s okay to feel anxious but please don’t give up; don’t fall into the rapid hole of deterioration like a black funnel cloud gaining speed. What can I do to keep you from slipping? I will hold your soft downy hands with all of my strength so you don’t go anywhere and you have no choice but to stand up like a strong, red oak tree. I will not let you down; I promise. Have a little faith, accept the bad things that have happened and move past it.

Dad gave up but he had no interest in living anymore because he was so depressed. Do you remember? The light in his blue-gray eyes had been extinguished two years before. He was not the same dad that brought us up, the joking, warm, TWA company guy that took us to eat in the airline terminal. He was not the same husband that protected you and took care of you and adored you and your less than stellar cooking attempts.  You “cooked” mashed potatoes out of dehydrated flakes that you poured into a pot and heated with tepid water or with milk. Dad made his own concoctions for dessert: red, strawberry, glistening, jello mixed with canned fruit cocktail and yogurt. To top it off he added applesauce and rainbow sprinkles. He said you were his favorite cook bar none. No restaurant compared to your cooking; that was real love.

He became an old man who had difficulty walking, he shuffled and it was heart-breaking to watch. I was fearful anytime he walked up or down my three front steps that he would fall over. He refused to use a cane, or a walker, his vanity meant more than everything else. At least he had his dignity to the very end. I was lucky to see him when he was still fighting. I was there when the Doctor asked him if he would be “amenable to training so he could use a walker.” He looked up at her and said “NO, Doctor, I am not amenable to that at all!” I remember he wore his white down jacket with the bright red lining inside. I wore that puffy jacket for months after he died. I wear the chain he always wore for luck. I lost daddy years before he died, we all did.

I pray that you will bounce back, mom, and that the pain of the last six months will dissipate forever. You have fallen twice in a short period of time, you broke your wrist and your vertebrae and now we just want to keep your bones strong by taking the drug, “Reclast.” The “drug whose name shall not be mentioned” that gives you nightmares and anxiety attacks and too much fear. You had a vicious bout with a grueling flu that kept you in bed and dehydrated with high temperatures that confused your own doctor. She made you go to the Emergency Room, I met you there. You got through that, now, you have to work through the past to the present and the future. Think about your favorite occupation in the summer time, swimming in your condo’s pool with its chlorinated clear, blue water and the temperature of a warm bath. You will be surrounded by friends, and fans. You will hold court in the shade while people gather around you like the Queen that you know you are.

We all get older but I don’t want to get older without you by my side. You are the first person I call when I have any type of news. You are the one that tells me that beneath my emotional mush, “I am very strong inside, like steel” and sometimes I need to be reminded. Mama, be abrasive or demanding and unreasonable. Really, its fine. You can remind me that I should exercise more and get mad at your grandchildren for not calling often enough.

I am not ready, I never will be ready to give you up. I want to play “tickle fingers” on your hands like we used to do when I was a small child. I want to see the flirtatious woman I know, engaging with everyone you meet because people are drawn to you like moths to light.  Don’t forget our famous song by Helen Reddy: “You and Me Against The World.” I will sing it for you if you want but mostly I want to sing it with you.

Love,

Your Daughter

Wildflowers Dancing

Texas Wildflowers [saturated]

Image by slight clutter via Flickr

The sun is shining, I have my ready-for-Spring green jacket on and I am gathering my blessings like a girl in a field of wild flowers: purple, pink, apricot and blue arranging them in a wicker basket. Today, my heart feels light, my steps seem smooth like I was on an invisible ice-skating rink and my elbows, fingers, knees are relatively pain-free. This is a gift from Spring, at least for the day and my body rejoices. Will I pay for this feeling tomorrow? Probably, but right now I don’t care.

I raise my face to the sun and delightedly close my green eyes. My hair hangs around my shoulders loosely. There, right there, the first hint of Spring in the suburbs. My nose gets kissed by the morning air, the 70 degree temperature makes me wrap my arms around myself and I eat golden honey on toast with butter and slices of a green, tart, Granny Smith apple.

I am not in pain always, I just write about it when I am. This is my apology to those who think I have NO good days or at least some better days. I am here today and I am enjoying life. A purple crocus is peeking from the earth, my beautiful, shiny nine-year old dog is ecstatic to be on a leash and outside for a leisurely stroll. I am as excited for her as I am for myself.

The snow returns tomorrow and the day after but that happens every year as March comes to an end and the pranks of April Fool’s Day come early. The one day of warm springtime teases us like a devilish child that loves to taunt and run away to safety. We have all known and loved that twinkling, mischievous youth. We know that there will be a few more days of snow and many more of rain and gray puddles. But, since we have tasted Spring on our lips, like the first soft-serve vanilla Carvel ice cream cone of the season, we know that it will come back to us soon. It will be even warmer, and lush, with green velvet grass sprouting and windows wide open to chase away the miserable coldness and stuffiness.  Once we have sniffed  the Spring, we embrace it, when it returns, like a lost puppy. Laughing now, we drink iced tea and grin widely as we look at a bowl of lush lemons gleaming in a simple, blue glass bowl.

Truth Or Consequences- The MeMe Tastic Blog

Peanuts

Image via Wikipedia

Here we go:

1) Everybody who knows me knows I love FOOD! Went out to dinner once with hubby after reading a review of this restaurant in the newspaper. It got such a rave review that when we called for reservations they only had a 5:00 seating. Knowing how much we love going out to dinner we decided it must be worth it. We arrived at our “early” time and were surprised to see people eating there already. We were starving. The layout of the restaurant was tight, as if we were in a big city restaurant not a suburban eatery. The menu had some nice things on it and they even had a couple of specials. The specials sounded amazing and I ordered the steak and shrimp special. You know a restaurant is good when that buttery feeling just slides down your throat in degrees of happiness. My husband ordered a glass of wine and I ordered my usual, a Diet Coke. In the beginning of the dinner after we finished our roll, the waiters came to clear the bread plates away. I was surprised, what if I wanted another roll? When we finished eating, looked at the dessert offerings but decided (unfortunately) we were too full. The prices were fairly steep, ranging from 20 dollars to 42 dollars but was worth every penny.

SOME OF IT TRUE, BUT I WOULD NOT SPEND 42 DOLLARS FOR AN ENTREE, RIDICULOUS AND ALSO, WOULD I GO BACK TO A RESTAURANT IF I DIDN’T LIKE THEIR DESSERTS. NO WAY. FALSE.

2) Growing up we lived in a lower/middle class neighborhood.  My mother used to work at night at the local hospital in the ER and there was a Doctor who kept literally chasing her around the desk. My dad made her quit but she wasn’t happy about it. She ended up working for a BMW dealer whose owner would take her for rides and they once picked me up from school on a street corner, when I was sick, in the newest, flashy BMW. Later my parents bought a black jaguar with leather interiors and real wooden trays from this same man. We used to ride to all different neighborhoods and into NYC, waving to people as if we were in a parade and we were royalty. People all around us would wave back and stare into the car trying to place “who we were”as if we were actors and actresses or royalty from another country. We used to go to various restaurants or museums and the entire family, starting with my father, would write in a guest book signing Prince Robert Charles and we would follow suit with our own impromptu titles. Once we were stopped by the police and he asked us for the Drivers license and our permission permit to ride in a parade. Oops, our bad! We were caught and escorted out!! (That was NOT fun)

SOME OF IT TRUE, MY DAD WOULD DO FUNNY THINGS LIKE THAT AND ONCE WE DID END UP IN A PARADE, WAVING. BUT THERE WAS NO POLICE AND WE WERE NOT ESCORTED OUT.

3) I was once in (what was then) the beautiful country of Yugoslavia with my mom, on tour, for two weeks. Once there we heard men whisper all around me, everywhere the words “kicki ricki.”  We were convinced since we kept hearing the same thing that this was some type of creepy dark, underground drug sale. Wherever we went, in open spaces people, on street corners, people kept saying the same things over and over again in hushed tones. My mom decided she would find out what they were talking about and entered a vastly crowded type of beer hall where they all stared at us and continued to say those odd words until I was practically surrounded by the men and their weird sayings. I was scared to pieces but finally, my mom, went straight into one of those small little enclaves, walked up to one of the men and said in a loud voice “what does kicki ricki mean?”  They stared her down and as I was about to run and grab my mother they too ran away quickly. What were they selling? What on earth were they doing? It couldn’t have been good because it all felt weird, and, we felt like we were being followed. It turns out that they were not selling drugs or beer or alcohol or hashish, what they were selling were “peanuts.” Peanuts?

TRICKED YOU ALL!  100 PERCENT, COMPLETELY TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!

4) My family traveled a lot and once we went on a vacation to Portugal. Once there, in a little fishing village called Cais Cais, my older sister wanted to explore. She dragged me down the village to where local fishermen were grilling sardines and offered us some. No way did I want to eat them but my sister grabbed the sardines from the fire and starting eating them with her hands. There was a man and his friend who offered my sister to show us around a private island. We had to go in a very small fishing boat, a row boat. As soon as we stepped on this island where there were no people, no stores, no houses, no nothing, the men decided to separate my sister and myself and wouldn’t let us see each other. I was frantic, calling for my sister and not hearing a word from her, all the while having a guy following me. He almost caught up to me when I thought I would die there alone and never see my family again. Finally, a few horrific hours later I was reunited with my sister and the four of us went back to the village where the fisherman gathered all around us, someone found an old camera and they took pictures of the two of us. Months later, a local friend of ours, sent us the little paper the village had and it featured an article about the “Two American Sisters” that had joined in the local ceremonies! I was so mortified, my sister was so proud!

MOSTLY TRUE, EXCEPT THE END. I WAS SCARED TO DEATH, IT DID HAPPEN BUT WE WERE NOT FEATURED IN ANY NEWSPAPER ALTHOUGH IF WE HAD, MY SISTER WOULD HAVE BEEN SO PROUD. I WAS SCARED FOR MY LIFE AND HER LIFE TOO!

5)My mom’s best friend lived in Florida first and then San Francisco.She was married for a long time and then got divorced. Her husband’s name was George. We all loved this woman like an aunt. She was the slowest eater I had ever seen, we would be finishing up our meal and she would just be starting to pick up her fork but she was wonderful and kind and sweet. She was a lovely woman and once I spent a week with her when she was living in San Francisco. I spent a lot of time walking around San Francisco, going shopping and seeing the sights. She had to work so she couldn’t come with me but I loved exploring different places on my own. I was taking black and white photographs and spent a lot of time outdoors photographing people. When my “aunt” came home for dinner we would eat, slowly, in her house. After dinner, she had a tradition, she would make me come with her and circle the streets where a man lived that she had a crush on. My aunt was 50 years old at the time and we had to keep going around the block for at least half an hour to see if his light was on, if he was home, etc. She was also in love with the opera singer Placido Domingo and knew that when he was singing on stage, that he was singing directly to her. She was convinced that eventually he would notice her. Years later, after the slow disappointment of the first two, the other man she was in love with was a contestant on Jeapordy, she watched the show when he was on and knew that they were meant to be together. She actually wrote a letter to the network, found out his name and wrote him letters. She couldn’t believe when he answered her letters and they ended up going on a real date!!! A year later they were engaged and I was the bridesmaid at the wedding!!!

ONCE AGAIN, ALL THINGS TRUE EXCEPT THE END. POOR AUNTIE, THEY DID NOT ENGAGED OR EVEN HAVE A SECOND DATE AND I WAS NOT THE BRIDESEMAID FOR HER OR ANYONE ELSE.